Like almost everything awesome that has come into my life, I was first introduced to Joseph Campbell and his three-word rule for a fulfilling life by my wife. “He says that all you need to do is follow your bliss,” she told me. “Follow your bliss?” I said. “That’s right: Follow your bliss.” Well, good, I thought. I love to write and I’m writing, and I just followed my bliss from Los Angeles to Seattle to be with Jen. I’m good to go. And I was, because at our roots we all are, except that the operative word in Campbell’s mantra is not “bliss” but “follow.” That’s the tricky part because it is so simple. We cannot pick up our bliss ands stuff it into a practical job or a convenient relationship. We cannot say, “Okay, Bliss, write me a bestseller.” We are not to harness our bliss, but follow it.
To follow something, you first have to locate it. Fortunately, my bliss is always wherever I am. It is not abandoned in the past when things were so much better, nor is it waiting for me in the future when life finally arranges itself and I win or am recognized or get paid. It is with me waiting for my attention, waiting to lead me to where I can find more of it.
It was appropriate that I first heard these three words when I was twenty-five, when I was shaking off the restlessness of young manhood and had begun eyeing the long road of adulthood and marriage and children. Was not the adult the one driving the car, choosing each turn and destination? How could my life be what I wished unless I took command and held firm the wheel?
A good question, to which my bliss could only answer, “This way.” I have stood again and again and again at this curious crossroads, choosing between the way I would make and the way I would follow. Everything I have tried to make has fallen apart, and every time I followed I was led to a world already whole.
"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com